Essential oils are natural plant extracts in concentrated form, and they come from the roots, flowers, leaves, stems, and fruits of various plant species. They’re commonly used for medical maladies, such as headaches, bug bites, and respiratory problems. Recently, however, many have turned to these oils for mood support during times of depression and homesickness.
The sense of smell is a powerful link between people and their memories and experiences. Aromas connected to happy experiences can evoke positive emotions; the opposite can also be true. As such, the emotional nature of smells suggests that aromatherapy can be a useful way to improve mood disorders and ease the symptoms of homesickness.
The Science of Aromatherapy and Emotion
Essential oils can be used topically and absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin or through direct inhalation. Ingesting oils through the respiratory system activates the limbic system in the brain, which controls mood, memories, and emotions. Research has shown that this brain support may lessen depression and improve mood, sleep, and overall life satisfaction.
In fact, a study in 2016 tested the physiological effects of aromatherapy on a group of college students struggling with homesickness, depression, and the inability to sleep through the night. The results revealed a strong correlation between the inhalation of lavender and greater production of serotonin (the happy hormone) and improved restful sleep at night.
Excellent Essential Oils to Use for Homesickness
Whether you’re a college student, a traveling businessman, an avid traveler, or you’ve just relocated, you may find yourself homesick or depressed for short or long periods of time. The good news is that there are a number of essential oils that can offer relief, promote emotional well-being, and provide some comfort in evoking positive memories of home.
Here are some of the most uplifting and inspirational essential oils to use when you’re feeling alone, tired, lost, or depressed while away from home.
Lavender is an exceptionally calming scent. A 2011 study suggested that lavender oil may be effective in combating depression and anxiety associated with homesickness. Perhaps your mother had some planted outside your childhood home? Diffuse lavender extract and be transported back to simpler days of playing ball in the front yard while she tended the garden.
Bergamot has shown to be effective in supporting blood circulation and boosting energy. This oil extract can be inhaled directly or rubbed on the feet and stomach. If you happen to be from the South, you can easily create a bergamot diffuser blend to give your home the familiar smell of your home state by mixing it with citrus and floral oils, such as lemon, rose, and geranium.
Ylang ylang essential oil causes a relaxing and mildly sedative sensation when diffused in the air or massaged into the skin. It pairs well with orange, nutmeg, and woodsy oils to help you remember the laid-back ways of your Midwest home and reduce your stress. Diffuse this blend whenever you need to remind yourself to slow down and get back to your roots.
Whether you’re using these essential oils to recall fond memories of your home state or to benefit from the depression-fighting effects of these extracts during a time of homesickness, supplementing them in your nighttime relaxation regimen may be the perfect way to improve your overall well-being and feel more at home wherever you are. Find additional information about alleviating the effects of homesickness here.